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Leonsis on Monumental Network’s future

(Luis M. Alvarez/AP) (Luis M. Alvarez/AP)

Ted Leonsis hasn’t said anything terribly different about the future of his teams’ media rights since he first launched Monumental Network.

Still, I pore over every public word he utters on the topic, because the upcoming negotiations for first the Caps and then the Wizards’ rights will be among the biggest sports media stories of the next decade.

(The Nats and MASN thing would be equally fascinating, except that won’t be resolved until every single person reading this sentence is dead, and their children are dead, and their children’s children are dead, and their children’s children’s children are watching Phil Wood on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Report.)

Anyhow, Leonsis recently spoke with SportsBusiness Journal at the Sports Media & Technology conference, and the write-up includes a meaty section about this upcoming issue.

Leonsis said his long-term goal is to turn the broadband network behind the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics into a production house with “the ability to show something in our arena, in real time, in all the televisions in the arena and outside on the signs and in those virtual screens on everyone’s site and everyone’s phone.” Leonsis would like to see it broadcasting concerts, and professional, college and high school sports games that take place at the Verizon Center. “We can look at all of that as ancillary opportunity for us,” Leonsis said. The Wizards and Capitals both have long-term rights deals with Comcast Sports Net.

The Wizards have seven years left on their deal. The Capitals have three. Leonsis said that he envisions doing one of three things with those rights when they become available.

“One would be that we would partner in a big way with Comcast,” Leonsis said. “I certainly believe we should have ownership in that network and a large voice in the programming of that network because we know our fans and our community extremely well. Or we would launch our own network, the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Network, or we’ll partner with some other sports network.”

Can’t wait until those neighbors who complain about Verizon Center’s outside screens have to watch eight straight hours of the BB&T Classic.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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